Lee-Seales rejects plea offer in New London murder case

Twenty-three-year-old Shaquan Lee-Seales, accused of gunning down a man on a New London street two years ago, told a Superior Court judge Tuesday that he wanted a murder trial, not a plea deal.

Lee-Seales, wearing a neon orange jumpsuit, leg irons and handcuffs, told Judge Hillary B. Strackbein he was rejecting an offer from prosecutor Paul J. Narducci to plead guilty in exchange for a 35-year prison sentence. He assured the judge he was aware he could be sentenced to up to 86 years in prison if convicted and turned to his family members in the gallery of the New London courtroom on his way back to the prison lockup. They told him, "We love you, Shay," and he responded that he loved them, too.

"See you all really soon. I'll be home in like, two months," he said.

Shooting victim Gilberto Olivencia's mother and other family members were saddened by the display. At the recommendation of a judicial marshal, they waited until Lee-Seales' family had cleared the hallway before leaving the courtroom.

Lee-Seales is being held in lieu of bond at the Northern Correctional Institution. City police charged him in June 2016 with murder, first-degree reckless endangerment, illegal discharge of a firearm, carrying a pistol without a permit and first-degree robbery in connection with Olivencia's death. He also has unrelated drug and weapons charges pending.

According to New London police, shortly before 11 p.m. on Dec. 10, 2015, Lee-Seales got out of a car and fired multiple shots toward Olivencia and several others following an earlier encounter on State Pier Road, where Lee-Seales allegedly had assaulted and robbed a 17-year-old drug dealer who "disrespected" him.

When police arrived, Olivencia was lying on the front porch of 8 Grand St., gasping for breath, with a large amount of blood on his shirt. He was unable to answer questions about who shot him. He was pronounced dead at 12:43 a.m. at Lawrence + Memorial Hospital.

Detectives said they used the statements of several eyewitnesses, a thumbprint on a cigarette pack that was found near the crime scene and phone records to link Lee-Seales to the crime.

Lee-Seales is represented by attorney Sebastian O. DeSantis, who on Tuesday said he had retained a fingerprint expert and would be needing more information from the state as he prepares the case for trial.

Strackbein said the case would be placed on the trial list immediately and could go before a jury as soon as this fall.

k.florin@theday

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